New show with Kapil Sharma is good buy for media planners, advertisers: Leena Lele Dutta

The Business Head of Sony Pictures Networks India, kids’ genre, spoke about Kapil Sharma’s association with the Sony YAY show ‘Honey Bunny’, viewership trends in the genre and more

e4m by Sonam Saini
Published: Sep 29, 2020 8:56 AM  | 5 min read
Leena Lele Dutta

In a first for Sony Pictures Network India, kids channel - Sony YAY! - has partnered with Kapil Sharma to launch an animated show. ‘The Honey Bunny Show with Kapil Sharma’ will see the channel associating with a real TV star or character for a programme.

The show is slated to release on October 12 and will present a never-seen-before onscreen camaraderie for their young fans in a series of minisodes. The hilarious sketches have been co-created with Kapil where he dons various comic avatars - be it as a doctor, umpire or even the broker on the moon.

Speaking on the association was Leena Lele Dutta, Business Head, Sony Pictures Networks India, Kids’ Genre, “Kapil Sharma has been associated with the network for a very long time. When it comes to comedy on television everyone knows that he is the number one among celebrated comedians.  When we look at data, we've always over-indexed in terms of the kids TG. Kapil is one of the names constantly popping up as a favourite TV celebrity. Therefore, we thought we would give Honey Bunny a different flavour this festive season.”

The channel plans to bolster its festive offerings with a programming line-up with the launch of six brand new movies along with fresh episodes, though this association with Kapil is only for the festive period. “It's primarily for this Diwali season. We are going to use the new episodes and movies extensively over Dussehra and Diwali - two months minimum - but the content will stay with us for a long time. We will use that content on digital platforms as well.”  This will be the first time the channel will be using a real TV star, Kapil Sharma, on the show.  Also, the show will run/on-air throughout the day specifically in the time-band when Honey Bunny shows and movies are played.

During the lockdown, the kids’ genre too witnessed a surge in viewership. With the easing of restrictions, the genre has seen a decline in total viewership but it is still higher than the pre-COVID levels. “In the lockdown period everything was on a high whether it's kids’ genre or any other. There was absolute co-viewing happening wherein kids were watching parents’ programmes and parents were watching kids’ programmes,” shared Dutta.

She further said, “We thought with lockdown ending and unlock 1-3 coming in place the kids category would go back to its original level, but that hasn't happened. It is because kids on a normal day in pre-COVID time followed a schedule. Now, everything is to be done at home. They are still not going out for tutions or extracurricular activities. While the category has shrunk a bit, it is still much higher than the pre-COVID levels. And I believe this trend is going to stay for some more time until schools reopens. Hence, this kind of viewership is going to stay for many months now.”

The viewership average at pre-COVID level was 500 GRPs for the category and in lockdown it rose to 750 GRPs. “But now we can see it coming down to around 650 GRPs but it has not gone back to pre-COVID levels.”

Speaking on the recovery, Dutta shared that the festive season recovery is happening not only for the kid's genre but other genres as well. For instance, IPL has got all the attention from advertisers, she added. 

“Advertisers are also realizing that they cannot lose out on this festive season because they've already lost the initial three months of the lockdown. For us, we are back to our pre-COVID inventory levels, advertisers are coming on board, so from a monetization perspective, we are back on track. There was a lull in the category and for the industry but thankfully we are back on track.”

The channel has already had a few sponsors on board for the show but are confident that before the launch of the show they will be able to close a good number of advertisers. Dutta shared that the increase in co-viewing has pushed a lot of advertisers up to advertise on a kids channel.

With Kapil Sharma’s association with the show Honey Bunny will also lead to different categories and advertisers coming on board.  The brand value of Kapil Sharma will easily rub off on the show as well. “Kapil Sharma has a loyal fanbase and I am sure they wanted to see what he is doing in the animation space. The main sponsors who follow him on main GEC could also come on board for this show. It's a matter of chasing the audience. The profile of Honey Bunny with Kapil makes a good buy for media planners and advertisers. I am very optimistic about the sponsors coming on board for the show.”

On the marketing front, the channel is planning to use BTL and ATL extensively. Sharing marketing plans, Dutta added, “We are actually looking at going with our below the line activation (BTL) as because of the Unlock phase we need permission for our van activations and we are targeting around 50 cities this month. We have an extensive ATL campaign as well. We are going to leverage our network’s strength for the show promotions. We will also be using non-network platforms as well for the marketing campaigns. We have also tied up with online school contract programmes. We hope that everything will unlock around Diwali and with an increase in footfalls in malls we plan to have mall activations too.”

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